The Lawfare Podcast: Uncovering a Secret U.S. Airstrike in Syria

By Jen Patja Howell
Friday, December 10, 2021, 5:01 AM

On March 18, 2019, the U.S. conducted an airstrike in Baghuz, Syria, as part of its battle against the Islamic State. Two bombs were dropped killing dozens of people, as many as 80 according to U.S. Central Command, the majority of whom seem to have been civilians. But the American public had never heard of the strike until last month when a New York Times investigation revealed not only the fact of the strike, but also the troubling government response that led to its being concealed from public view for more than two years.

Natalie Orpett sat down with Dave Philipps, co-author of the Times article and a veteran national security reporter, and Luke Hartig, a fellow in New America's International Security Program and executive editor at Just Security. They talked about what we know and don't know about the incident itself, the legal and policy framework around airstrikes, allegations of war crimes, and what's been happening within the U.S. government in the years since the strike.